Thursday, December 18, 2008
I was in the Dawang Road branch of CMB yesterday to apply for a new account. It took over half an hour waiting and half an hour to process. The other customers have same situation too. In fact, there are quite a few ways to improve the service, just a bit effort.
Ways to improve the customer experience based on the operation theory:
Reduce paper work and word-typing process. There are so many paper work involved in each service, while customer don't necessarily need it. For example for easy service such as deposit, signature is not necessarily needed. Another example is to reduce the required blank for applying new account, such as office phone/home phone.etc.
Add the number of customer rep in the normal service counter. Right now, there are three customer representatives serving in the hall(one manager, two intern), six reps in four normal service counter, three reps in the wealth management counter, maybe a few in the VIP room, too. Among the four normal service counter, one is in charge of easy service, and the other three are dealing with complicated service. The whole bottleneck is here. CMB can try to move the reps from the wealth management counter to the normal service counter to reduce the waiting line. Reps in wealth management counter basically doing nothing, while reps in the normal service counters are busy to death. CMB should increase the utilization in the other counter by letting them doing normal services.
Entertain customer while they are waiting. There are a lot of ad post but they are not entertaining at all. CMB should add some newspaper/magazine or some TV screen to attract customers' attention from waiting. Those entertaining tool will dramatically reduce customers' complain.
Good luck to CMB and other Chinese banks on the way.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
I got a very bad experience in a Lotus Store in Beijing near Chaoyang park. I left my basket in a corner, and went to get something else. The basket just disappeared. I asked one customer rep, and she said she doesn't know. I asked another customer rep, and he said he is charge of the other area. There's a manager-look lady asked a rep to help me, and the rep's answer is she can't help since she just got off the work. I asked totally six employees, and no one ever felt responsible for an annoyed customer.
It turns out Lotus has this rule of return every goods left in five minutes, and someone may mistake my basket as a leftover. I understand this, but that can't be the reason for them to collect the goods basket the customer is still shopping with in two minutes. The rule is a burden to the customer, just because the store wants to keep the goods in order. Shame on them.
More importantly, no one takes an ownership on a single customer. i don't know how Lotus trained their employees, and how they got paid(definitely not for customers but probably for the speed of returning the goods). Every rep looked at me like there's nothing to do with them, instead of trying to take the responsibility to help me. When I asked to see the manager, a rep even said he is not allowed to cross the level to report to the manager.
I used to think the service in Asia is much better, but if you ever in Whole Foods or Safeway in U.S., you can feel like being helped. Reps will approach you and say "do you need help", the countermen or counterwomen will say "did u find everything ok. It's a pity that Lotus is founded by Charoen Pokphand Group, a well-respected Thai conglomerate.
With such a bad service, no wonder Lotus is losing a lot of money in China. It hired two senior WalMart excutive, Jim Haworth and Terry Pharr to save the loss in the beginning of the year and changed the company's Chinese names. My only words to the Jim and Terry: train your people to be customer-centric, instead of rule-centric; or everyone will stop going.
I have to spend 73 rmb in the store today, and will never pay them a cent in the future. Will go to Carrefour though it is a bit far.
If Lotus has a stock, definitely go short.
From New York Times:
How happy you are may depend on how happy your friends’ friends’ friends are, even if you don’t know them at all.
And a cheery next-door neighbor has more effect on your happiness than your spouse’s mood.So says a new study that followed a large group of people for 20 years — happiness is more contagious than previously thought.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
If people, can remember, Chinese banks did restructure itself a few years ago, while the big four already or are going to list in the stock exchange, making the organizations more transparent.
If what Liu said is true, the impact will be huge on the media industry. For example, the newspaper industry in China prints over 44 billion pieces of newspaper every year; if each piece costs an average 2 rmb, it's gonna be a US$12 billion industry just by selling newspaper, not to mention advertising and so on.
For the book publishing industry, Liu said it will legalize the private capital's role in the industry. This means the private capital can directly publish books in the future, which will make the book publishing market more efficient, and I expect more innovative content will be generated.
Liu also talked about the plan to set up three big media groups with annual revenue over $10 billion. This is an easy part, since right now there are already three including CCTV, SMG and Southern Daily Group. This may not be a good thing for a media start-up, but at least their operation will be more transparent when they are listed.
Hope emerges amid the global financial crisis.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
People started talking about how difficult to get a job now, though Stanford MBAs don't usually take the offer from campus recruiting. Entrepreneur career seems more attractive since at least you can start cheap. Luckily, I am on this trek.
Monday, November 10, 2008
An old friend came to visit this Saturday. We talked a lot on the Internet in China, and especially social networking website. To me, there's still a lot of potential to explore. Now I have this dilemma if I should stay or go back after the graduation. My heart told me to go back, but there's still a lot of things to learn here. Hope I can get a sure answer very soon.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In Stanford, we have a class called the Investment Management and Entrepreneurial Finance taught by Professor Jack McDonald. He was once the Chairman of Nasdaq advisory committee, and is well connected in the industry. In the class, he invites all type of investment experts, from the founder of TPG to the Chairman of Capital Group Research. In the past few months, they talked on the downturn of the market usually in an optimistic way; interestingly, a lot of them mentioned the opportunity. One of them, founder of a US$15 billion PE firm, said the next 5 to 10 years is going to be a big opportunity to get a huge return. He said US's opportunity will sit in its advantage to deliver goods and services to other countries. More importantly, US should think more of the real problems such as energy dependence, climate change and food safety by working together with countries like China instead of treating it as adversary.
Clearly, there is a misconception in the US media that the US is going to an end. There are a lot of smart investors quietly observing the volatile market, waiting to be in the best deals. Looking at the past 100 years, a lot of great investors often emerged in the bad time. and who will be this time?
Monday, October 13, 2008
I was talking to my business partner on if it is good time to start a business now. He is conservative, while I am optimistic. On one hand, it's hard to raise money, but on the other hand, there is less competition. Start-up takes time to develop and the downturn is a good time to prepare it well. When economy begins to fly, your business will start to fly too. Maybe this is too ideal, but isn't that entrepreneurs have to be passionate and persistent to succeed?
Excerpt: (if you need the slides from Sequoia, let me know)
Today, Sequoia Capital hosted a mandatory CEO All-Hands Meeting on Sand Hill Road. There were about 100 CEO’s in attendance and let me tell you, the mood was somber. I’m not one to perpetuate doom and gloom or bad news, but let me underscore this for you: We are in a serious economic downturn and this is just the beginning. Immediate, decisive and swift action is required, along with frugal, day-to-day management of expenses and our business is required.
***Here are my notes from the meeting. Keep this note in your in-box and read it every day. I’m serious folks, this is for our survival.***
· Mike Moritz, General Partner, Sequoia Capital (he moderated the speakers).
· Eric Upin, Partner, Sequoia Capital (Eric ran the $26-Billion Stanford Endowment Fund and knows a few things about Economics and investing.)
· Michael Partner, Sequoia Capital (Michael was recruited to start Sequoia’s very first hedge fund, coming from Maverick Capital and Robertson Stephens. I know him from my BEA days.)
· Doug Leone, , General Partner, Sequoia Capital
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
The biggest news this week is China started the trial on short selling, a big improvement in the capital market. I remember people have been talking this for many years, and the CSRC is smart to launch this now because the market is too low, almost at the bottom. Short selling will not hurt that much.
Short selling may be out of favour, widely blamed as one of the most dangerous of the unregulated excesses of market capitalism, but China’s stock market regulators are apparently not worried by that.
Just as many countries have banned or restricting the practice, China announced at the weekend that it would proceed with the trial introduction of both margin trading and short selling of shares, in spite of the global turmoil.
Initially at least, the Shanghai stock market was unimpressed: the benchmark Shanghai Composite index closed down 5.23 per cent at 2,173 points on Monday, shrugging off the positive impact of the announcement entirely, and giving in to concerns about the health of the global economy instead.
Shanghai stocks were also playing catch-up: the mainland markets were closed last week for the Chinese national day holiday, so they were unable to react to market falls elsewhere in Asia until Monday.
On Sunday, partly as a further effort to support the flagging Shanghai stock market, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) announced the cautious introduction of margin trading and short selling. The measures were meant to introduce “new vitality” to the stock market, the regulator said on its website.
It said only carefully selected brokerages would initially be permitted to offer such services, and the scale of any margin trading – buying shares with borrowed money – would far exceed that of short selling since brokerages have much more cash to lend to clients than shares. Traders expected the measures to lift the market.
But investors appear to have been too preoccupied by global market travails to care much about long-term reforms to the Chinese markets. “The fall today is a negative response towards the external market worldwide during the long holiday. The introduction of margin trading and short selling is a . . . technical enhancement with more long-term effect than immediate impact,” said Zhang Jichun of United Securities. “There is still a big lack of confidence among investors at the economic fundamentals,” especially a continuing slowdown in corporate profitability.
But the goal of the long-anticipated reforms is “much more than a simple market-saving effort. It is geared towards the institutional build-up of the Chinese financial market”, says Mr Zhang. The measures will increase liquidity and weed out amateur investors: “Those who can’t read the market will ultimately be filtered out.”
Jing Ulrich, head of China equities for JPMorgan, said: “The new trading mechanism will fundamentally change the ‘one-sided’ nature of the A-share market, allowing investors to profit from falling as well as rising markets.” She added that in the long term, securities lending should contribute to the stability of mainland markets.
But in the short term it could lead to further volatility “leveraging market participants’ capacity to engage in momentum trades on the expectation of falling or rising markets”.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Henry Paulson, the Finance Secretary, said American should remain confident in American financial system. However, just saying so will not help. Henry Paulson refused to use the Federal money to help with the liquidity of Lehman Brothers, after he led the U.S. government to take over the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
However, this show will never happen in China. Chinese government owns all major banks and brokerages. If one goes for bankruptcy, the others will be hugely impacted as well. The government has to transfer money from left hand to right hand to make up the loss. It's a good thing for small investors, but not healthy for the total market, since all general investors are overconfident on the government's capability.It is also the reason for Chinese market's isolation from other markets.
Today, the central bank of China cut the rate, though it didn't save the Chinese market from tumbling. This is a good thing. Now Chinese should realize that the local market is closely connected to the global market, and a single government can't control the world market. Now they need to learn how to play the game.
Let's continue watching the show, and there's several stocks on my watch list.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
When I first moved to Hong Kong, the value of HK dollar started to fall versus RMB;
Then I moved the U.S., the value of US dollar started to fall too;
and I went to U.K. thinking of making some pound in order to make up the loss, the pound fell as well;
Now my friends asked where I am going next. "That's a top business secret". I said.
A trading opportunity for "short", definitely.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I had a big debate with an Australian friend when we were watching the ceremony because he kept saying Olympics is all about politics. "China should improve its human right before holding this Olympics", he said. A lot of politicians were there, and a lot of politics were involved, but there is only fair competition during the game. Athletes deserve a clean field to compete, and every country does too. If Olympics discriminate a country with one fourth of the world's population just because of politics, then I can't imagine the flame of the torch originated from Athen is still pure.
A few days later, he forwarded an email on the fake voice of the Chinese girl who was singing in the ceremony. He wants to prove his point. Look at the pictures of the two girls, you can see the one who showed up is "more cute" than the others. However, I can't help thinking the impact of this action on the girl who actually singed. Her name is Yang Peiyi. She has a beautiful voice, but she has to be behind the stage because of her "less-cute"look. She is just 7-years old, and what will she remember as she grow up? Also, to the girl who showed up, she will also remember she doesn't really sing in the ceremony, but get the position because she is better looking. What will happen to her?
In China's traditional saying, we will never judge a person based on his or her looking. But, I can understand why the director did this, though I don't agree. This is called groupism; people do this to make a better performance for the whole group, but they shouldn't ignore what will be the impact on individuals.
Chinese people are in the process of changing from a 100% of groupism to a mix of groupism and individualism, especially among younger generation. It's a good thing, and it's a right path for China to improve the human right situation.
When I am still "ashamed" by this fake sing, I found this story on a leading dancer who was expected to dance in the ceremony but fell off and hurt herself. Her name is Liu Yan. She may never stand up again. Zhang Yimou, the director of the ceremoney, visited her in the hospital. "You're the deepest pain in my heart," Zhang was reported as saying. "If I could see you stand up again, it would make me much more happier than any praise I've received."I was very impressed by this. Despite all the critics on Zhang's directing style, his words shows his respect to a single individual life, and that's the true Olympic spirit.
I replied my Australian friend a long long email, telling him China's history before and the change now. At last, I said, "let's try to open mind to each other, and understand each other much better than our parents do".
Monday, August 04, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Though the percentage of Internet users in China is still lower than U.S., 19 percent compared with 70 percent, it shows a new generation of Chinese citizens already grows bigger and bigger. Most of them are younger than 30, born as the only child in the family, speak English, and have time to surf on the Internet. They are the one growing up with a PC at home, just like baby boomers in U.S. growing up with TV 50 years ago. They will have their own generation problem, very much different from their parents, but no doube they will have a big impact on where China will go.
In London, I am shocked to see the poor knowledge on China of a lot of Europeans. In their mind, China is still a scary country without freedom of speech and human rights. Thanks to a lot of western media's coverage, people's mind still stays on the same page as twenty years ago. It is pitiful for China to be recognized in the world, and it is also pitiful for the world in the other way.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
It will be quite helpful to people who constantly change phones. I still remeber I have to write down all hundreds of contact from my old phone, and input it to the new phone, which is quite a mess. It turns out that I have to carry two phones in Europe, because I have all my China contact on one phone, and all my U.S. contact on the other.
This website is kinda of doing sth more innovative beyond uploading and downloading contacts. It tries to make use of those contacts to set up a network for people to share calendar and contacts. Vodafone bought this company in May, which I can see a lot of opportunity for Vodafone to develop in this space. However, the biggest concern in the mobile networking is how much people are willing to share their mobile numbers since they are more private info compared with facebook account or even email account. Imagine when you want to introduce a friend to another, people normally use facebook or send out email, instead of text the friend another friends' number. But who knows? people always change.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
They both have the most famous piece from Vincent Van Gogh, one has SunFlower, and the other has Stary Night.
I love National Gallery because of its old style and the heavy history of over one thousand history.
I also love MoMa in New York as of its modern architecture and decoration, and possibly delicious soup in the canteen.
They are both precious belongings left by our precedents to us.
and what we will leave to our next next next generation?
Europe is a very interesting place, especially London. Very multinational, very not-efficient, very long history, very respected culture and very lovely people. I am yet to say I love London, but I can sense the creativity & knowledge of the Londoners (if people call themselves Londoners). Living here for a whole summer is very different from my last short visit two years before. I feel the city every day.
I visited Germany last week, and some photos to share. still thinking of going to France and Italy. Berlin is my favorite and definitely recommended to everyone.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I was sitting in Wells Fargo bank on Hamilton Avenue for some account service. suddenly, two men came in and robbed the bank. "everyone put your hand on the table". They yelled. In twenty seconds, they robbed money and ran.
Gosh, is this a CSI scene just happened in real?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
From what I read in the book, only one element can not make a great company. It needs good timing, good leadership, good strategy, good parnters, good government and a lot of other good things to make the great thing happen.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
You could see how people change their opinions after being there by themselves. You can also see people's opinions in the 30 comments following this. Anyway, a good read if you want to learn how biases vary.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The big watermelon is that Microsoft to buy Yahoo at a price as high as $37, while the small apple is that Google is going to open its ad service to Yahoo, which will bring a $250 million to $450 million strong cash flow to Yahoo's balance sheet.
Today, Yahoo announced that it ended up talks with Microsoft. However, it said it will partner with Google on opening its searching service to Google's advertising business. Reuters call it as a new model in ad partnership, while I believe that's only an apple to comfort upset yahoo investors.
In addition, Yahoo admits that its ad service based on its searching business is no longer as competitive as Google's. It may get a huge share of revenue from the deal, but the fact is that Yahoo can't do a better job in selling ads by itself.
It's interesting how similar the history looks like, even beyond the border. Over 2000 years ago, there was a small nation in China called Qin. The other five nations were all bigger and stronger than Qin. However, the Emperor of Qin is a very good strategiest. He chose to partner with one or two nations in order to fight with other bigger ones. Qin grew bigger and stronger benefiting the alliance, and finally took control of all the other five nations.
Managing a business is like governing a nation. Alliance is important, but that is not all. Yahoo may see a good deal now, but it will soon fully rely on Google's ad platform. Google will be the one who decide the percentage of revenue Yahoo can get. Yahoo needs more than a partnership to revive its business, without being taken over by anyone including Google and Microsoft.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
The deal cost $4.66 billion, and valued the target at 29 times of the 2007 book value. People call this crazy, and Standard & Poor downgraded China Merchants Bank to Watch Negative, but I will say this is a good move.
S&P quoted the reason of downgrading as "CMB is short of managing practice in Hong Kong", but I will argue that CMB management is already prepared for it. Roughly one year ago, the management of CMB was asked if they want to expand in Hong Kong. A funny quote was "The number of bank branch in Hong Kong is higher than the number of restroom, it will be hard for us to make the progress". To me, the deal of this time represents the CMB's confidence in the future expansion.
Beyond the management confidence, there are still three other reasons for me to pro this acquisition.
First, the origin of CMB. CMB is originated from Shenzhen, a neighbor city of Hong Kong. Considering a lot of Hong Kong citizen residing in Shenzhen, CMB is already familiar with the customer culture in Hong Kong. Plus, CMB is the best in terms of retail banking in China, which will make it competitive in Hong Kong, a retail banking-dominated city.
Second, the RMB service of CMB. Currently, a lot of Hong Kong residents are saving RMB because of the continuous appreciation. CMB can provide a better service based on its RMB reserve from its mainland China branches. This is hard for the other Hong Kong banks because of their limitation in operating in mainland China.
Third, the increasing middle class in China. taking a survey on mainland Chinese who shop in Hong Kong, it will be amazing to see a high percentage of using CMB credit card. It will be much more convenient for them to enjoy a local service if they travel in Hong Kong. I believe this is only the first step for CMB. More and more overseas acquisition will happen because of the demand from Chinese consumers.
All in all, it is a high valuation, but it is a valuation after careful consideration. I look forward to a succesfull integration between CMB and Wing Lung.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Here is a digest from WSJ.
"Whole Foods Market Inc. Chief Executive John Mackey is back in the blogosphere after a months-long investigation that questioned his anonymous postings on Yahoo Finance message boards.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission spent the past 11 months investigating whether Mr. Mackey's roughly 1,400 anonymous messages under the screen name "Rahodeb" had broken any laws. The commission concluded no action needed to be taken against the chief executive or the company.
As a result, Mr. Mackey has returned to the Web with a vengeance, posting a 2,037-word piece on Whole Foods' Web site in which he said he's sorry the investigation put a negative spotlight on the company. He acknowledged making a mistake in judgment, but not ethics, saying he didn't realize posting under a screen name in an online community would cause so much controversy.
"I don't wish to apologize for being highly competitive, because much of my drive and creativity come from this competitiveness," he said. "I don't believe that I ever crossed the line of fair but vigorous debate in these postings." The posting was reported earlier by Silicon Alley Insider."
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It's hard for people to smile after a big disaster. Here I forwarded a pic of a few kids who succeeded in getting away from disaster after climbing over the hills to get to the safe place. The 483 kids in this primary school built under China's Hope Project(a charity project sponsoring students in the poor area to go to school) created a miracle that no one died or injured in this disaster. The mainstream foreign media may never report on this, but the school is one of the few that its building didn't fall down during the earthquake, which gave the chance for teachers and students to survive. The sponsor, a private enterprise in Sichuan named Hanlong Group, made the construction quality the first priority in this project, which help saved all the lives of those innocent kids. A Chinese journalist reported this on his blog, while he called the miracle is led to the firm's advanced insight on what will happen in the future ten years before developing the building.
I have seen so many miserable pictures these days, and this is the first one I can see hope. Those young girls smiled very happily, that's the happiness of surviving with all their friends. They are lucky, but there are hundreds of thousands of kids who are not lucky after either losing their lives, their friends or their families. Now, my hope is that the one sstill alive will remember this disaster, but will look forward. They should know there are much more happiness they can enjoy in their future lives.
I am planning with a few friends on going to Sichuan this summer. The only purpose is to bring them happiness, and enjoy that with them. If you have experiences or training in dealing with people who suffered from major disaster, please give us some help on what we should pay attention, or should avoid. We appreciate it very much.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
This may not be the time to argue for the cause of those death, since people are busy saving lives. However, I still want to say we need an effective national emergency system, especially in areas with frequent disasters. Stanford just tested its emergency system, while it can reach everyone via mobile phone or fixed phone immediately and automatically. China needs this too. We have to make sure we are able to notify everyone in case something happens. Even if sometimes the notification is not accurate, it is still necessary to notify because life is the most important thing.
P.S. We are organizing a charity sale in Stanford now. Today is the first day, and we have already raised over 5000 US dollars. We will continue to raise money tomorrow.
Some reader asked me the websites on donation. There is only a few in English, such as Jet Li's One Foundation. I kinda of curious why Red Cross China doesn't even have an English website.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It kinda of reminded me of Chinese news in American media. On one hand, we see very Chinese-culture oriented reports, but on the other hand, the content and spirit is totally distorted. A lot of foreign reporters were trained thirty or forty year ago, and still hold this strong opinion towards Chinese. Pitifully, a lot of nice young American have been reading those since they were little, and bearing this wrong image afterwards, just like they will take P.F. Chang's as the native Chinese cuisine. In one of my non-market strategy class, the professor asked us to describe China in one word. The most shocked word I heard is "communism" from a young and charming female classmate. I got stucked and didn't know what to say.
Today I watched two war movies, We Were Soldiers Once..and Young, and Saving Private Ryan. Beyond the brutal scene, the only thing I saw is miscommunication, between American and Vietnamese, and American and Germany. Now Chinese will face the same situation, from the image people get from the cheap manufacturing labor to the angry shouting group in front of French Supermarket Carrefour. Media, especially English media, has an important role in describing all this. I sincerely hope they could end up with the original Chinese cuisine at last.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Wei Dong, an entrepreneur, founder and chairman of Yongjin Group, committed suicide after reported investigation of the government regulator. The Reuters report doesn't mention his suicide note, which was publicized by Sina. He said in the note that he was struggling in mental distressed disease. He hoped his death will release everyone, including the beloved family members, from the burden.
He is not the only one in the 90s entrepreneurs group who suffered from mental distress generated by outside pressure. People talked about the "original evil", the "illegal" actions or strategies took by them in the 90s when the society was in chaos. And now the question is if they are going to be punished by that.
I don't have the right answer, but I do believe suicide, or getting rid from the reality, is not going to solve problems. There must be a solution, and those entrepreneurs need to find it before moving on.
Friday, May 02, 2008
1. Aerohive Networks Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., a developer of enterprise wireless networking technology. The company raised
3. Knowtate Inc.,
4. Mojix Inc.,
5. Myxer (MVisible Technologies Inc.), Deerfield Beach, Fla., a provider of mobile technology, products, services and programs to manage and deliver digital media to mobile devices. The company has raised
6. Ontela Inc.,
7. Planet9 Studios Inc.,
8. Pudding Media Inc.,
9. Rocketbux, Bend, Ore., a developer of technology to deliver location and time relevant offers to mobile phones via the point-of-sale network. The company plans to raise a
10. TrafficCast International Inc.,
Monday, April 28, 2008
I went to see Mamma Mia last Friday, and got very impressed by the Mamma Mia spirit. The music is great, the singers and dancers are great, and the whole musical is great. I know there is always a dream for everyone.
I have a dream
A song to sing
To help me cope
If you see the wonder
Of a fairy tale
You can take the future
Even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream
I have a dream
Friday, April 25, 2008
Excerpt from GSMA website.
Q: Can you tell of the inspiration behind the idea of Blackberry. What were the technological and market forces at that time that made you believe that this could be a potentially great company?
Jim: Well, the inspiration, I think, really lies in seeing what we thought were the trends and thus anticipating the changes in the market, and doing the work in advance of these things happening. And you got to remember these trends are always obvious in hindsight, but at foresight they are far from obvious. In the mid 90s when we are working o
Q: last question. What advice would you give a young start-up in technology today?
Jim: Trust your original thought. You are trying to look around corners and anticipate what's happening and do original thought. And from that, from the view in the world, there are opportunities going and so you have to form your own thoughts, trust your own thoughts. I think always stay with passion and enjoyment, focus and intensity because that will give you persistence. Sometimes these things are more difficult, sometimes they take longer so, you need to have a focused and energetic approach to it. And the other thing I would say, always, you will have many opportunities where you'll have to make a choice on a short term approach versus a long term approach, or an ethical compromise or not and I found it just being honest and being straightforward and taking a long term approach. You sleep well and it pays rich dividends, and so never lie, never cheat, never take a short term approach...though sometimes it's tempting. But I've seen it and it's not a way to do business and not a way to live. It's actually not very smart because it comes back to you. So whenever one of those reasons is going to motivate you, take a long term, honest (approach)...If you cheat somebody, they basically say this is not someone I can trust. So take a long term, honest approach.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I talked to a guy from the company on its business in China. It's amazing that he said "We are scared of China". He referred to the fact that some companies in China tried to learn the Meraki products and then copy it all. "We are so scared of it".
It is a dangerous sign for China's manufacturing industry, especially in the technology sector. As I said before, intellectual property protection is necessary to boost the creativity. There's no free lunch, and people have to design their own stuff instead of continuing the habit of copying others. Or, outsiders will get scared, and China will lost the connection.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"So just in this first post in the series, we get a sense of the profound wonder that the newspaper was even brought into existence, much less became widespread or had an impact on the world.
And we see the nature of the birthing pains of a new medium -- any new medium -- and obviously, all of the birthing pains of the modern consumer Internet are trivial in comparison to the mind-boggling headwinds the original newspaper entrepreneurs faced."
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The number of mobile broadband connections globally has risen tenfold in the past year, lending credence to suggestions the industry is coming of age.
The GSM Association, the global trade body for mobile phone operators, is expected to announce today the 32-millionth mobile broadband connection, up from 3m at the end of March 2007.
It also found that the number of operators offering high-speed internet access through mobile networks had soared 44 per cent in the past 10 months.
The GSMA said operators in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America were all reporting an increase in the uptake of high-speed packet access handsets, which give users access to websites at speeds ranging from 1.8 -megabits a second to 7.2mbps.
It found that of 166 global commercial HSPA deployments, 100 offer speeds of 3.6mbps or above, while of the 27 countries in the European Union, 24 have commercial HSPA deployments.
Rob Conway, chief executive of the GSMA, said: "We are witnessing the creation of a virtuous circle in which mobile broadband is achieving greater economies of scale, driving down the cost of handsets and equipment and enabling more and more people to enjoy easy access to media-rich services."
The growth of mobile broadband services has set internet companies on a potential collision course with mobile and fixed-line network operators seeking to secure potentially huge new revenue opportunities.
In February, Google said it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple's iPhone than any other mobile handset, while Vodafone poached a senior Microsoft executive to head its new internet services unit.
The number of networks offering commercial mobile broadband services has risen sharply in the past year. Broadband on mobile phones is available in 73 countries from 166 operators, up from 96 networks commercially deployed in three countries.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
It is my first Spring break. (since I only got winter and summer break in college). and I feel I've learnt a lot. If one day I am able to improve the education system in China, I will definitely include Spring Break on my agenda, since it is a great time to travel with classmates and learn about the world.
New Orleans is an amazing city. It is definitely different from any other American city I've ever been. The distinctive difference could be seen everywhere. On one side, it has the elegant European-style buildings around Jackson Square and French Quarter; on the other side, it is one of the poorest cities in U.S. with the highest crime rate.
Jogging along the Mississippi river, I feel I sensed the power from the water which has fed one generation of American; Food is good too, with Gumbo, Po-boy, Oysters and all other unique dishes; however, the homeless people sleeping on the street and under the bridge has kept reminding me that this is a poor area. The mix gives me a unique sense of the city, and thus attracts a lot of tourists as well as young generation.
The trip is sponsored by the school as a way to help local entrepreneurs to start their businesses. This is the third year Stanford is doing this. Our task this time is to help select an entrepreneur to open his or her business in a retail space opening in Upper 9th Ward, one of the poorest area and most destroyed places in the city during Katrina. 16 MBAs spent five days to interview the four candidates, analyze their business model, debate among groups on figuring one which one is most beneficial to the community and most sustainable. The new vocabulary I learnt is double bottom line, to balance the business between social benefit and economic return. It's difficult to measure. After hours hours debate/discussion/brainstorming, we finally made our decision on selecting a hair salon business to occupy the space. The hair salon will enhance employment and draw traffic to the area. And hopefully, she will open her store very soon.
Entrepreneurship is everywhere. MBA is not necessary, wealth family is not necessary as well. In the Hope House, a charity organization in town, we learn from Jonika(if I spell it right), a single mother who raised two kids by herself, to start a pasta venture. She sold pasta everyday, and managed to make a living. She didn't go to high school, though she dreamed to go to play basketball there. Her mother went to prison because of drug abuse, and she almost lost her life in the hurricane. However, she survived from all of that and became an entrepreneur. The same stories are heard in New Orleans every day, and it's very encouraging to anyone who is hesitating.
New Orleans is a city to sense the power and class. For examples, there will be seven tables in the room, with only two having glasses and waters, which means higher-class people will sit in those two tables. The city has a higher percentage of Black Americans, which is described by some columnists as "the corner that is being forgotten or tried to be forgotten by the American mainstream". Education is a big problem, since the city has the worst public school system. Luckily, after Katrina, most of the public school system were destroyed, which gave the opportunity for a lot of young educators to come to the city and set up charter schools. A HBS graduate in his 30s is working in a charter school to bring advanced education system to try to get more kids into better schools. "Is it worth"? someone asked me. "Yeah, it is. Imagine how much impact you could make in a big corporate? here, in this school, this 30 something is going to change the lives of 400 kids".
How to rebuild the city? Leadership matter, said one of the GSB alumni working in New Orleans. He believes someone with the leadership skill will change the city. The city, once suffered from inefficient leadership of the mayor and unresponsiveness from the Federal government, is on its way to lead itself. A lot of non-profit organizations, such as Global Green and Solar Energy Systems Group, have been to the city and worked on different projects. The Make it Right foundation, led by movie star Brad Pitt, is now building energy-efficient housing for the local people. It's a new and insightful direction, and the city is hoping to become the leader in the next-generation urban planning technology.
To me, the most sad thing is to learn that the New Orleans is sinking. According to NASA, New Orleans will sink about 0.17 inches a year, or near three feet over the next 200 years. Parts of the city are 5-10 feet below sea level now. People are building and rebuilding every year, but there is chance that water will come again and wash everything away. I will pray for the city and hope there will be better solution and technology to protect the city. Hope people will continue to be happy there.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It's interesting to watch CNN's Larry King show today when several "financial experts" were talking about how to invest money right now. One expert said people have to keep their money in the stock market in order to enjoy a longer-term return. However, confidence does matter a lot here. When one person said it is crisis, it is usually not; but when seventy percent of the people said this, it is going to be. What I cared most is how U.S. stock market will affect the global market. I have to admit that New York is still the center of the world, while Europe and Asia markets couldn't replace right now. China market including Shanghai and Hong Kong will behave the same way, though the fundamental is different. The consumer industry in China is still pretty strong, while a lot of companies are going to report strong earnings, such as China Mobile. It is necessary to realize it and take advantage of this good opportunity in the market.
Speaking of this, even Premier Wen said the economy this year is going to be tough. However, the liquidity is still high when we see central bank of China still raised the deposit reserve rate for banks to absorb the liquidity. It is a good year to relax and enjoy Olympics. Keep energy to work hard next year, my comrades :)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
"A new ministry of industry and information will be created to oversee the cellular phone industry previously under the Ministry of Information Industry. It will also regulate Web- based applications and Internet content, according to the plan. The ministry will combine responsibilities from the information industry ministry and the State Council Information Office."
From Bloomberg(the second last paragraph.)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Nowadays in the internet, the community is like a tribe where people could find the others with the same hobby. Advertisers love this, while the ads will be more focused and effective.
Speaking of this, I still think they should expand a little bit more international. The strategy has yet to come. When I introduced myself as a Chinese blogging for four years, one of the founders was surprised: "That must be really tough since all blogs are blocked in China?".
Well, it's not true, I answered. .
Monday, March 03, 2008
Back to serious topic. I got this gut feeling that everything is unlimited in wireless industry in U.S. these days. Customers already have the choice of unlimited data plan for quite a few years, and now suddenly the voice became unlimited plan as well. (remember when broadband usage changed from charging based on hours to unlimited monthly, now here is the same thing).
A wrap up from businessweek:
"On Feb 19, Verizon Wireless announced a new pricing plan that offers unlimited calling for $99.99 a month. Later, AT&T announced a similar plan, while T-Mobile went one better by including unlimited text messages for the same price. The move is a big change from the wireless model in which customers pay for limited buckets of minutes. It's the latest sign that carriers are viewing voice as a commodity and data service as the future growth opportunity."
However, mobile carriers still bear the bad reputation on not being creative in the data service. In fact, mobile should be just a platform like Internet, where everyone could freely create a website, and share information. Mobile carriers should be just like broadband service providers, where they couldn't control the content. It's all grassroot content works. We couldn't imagine Comcast create a facebook, while AT&T couldn't possible create a killer web app too. This new era encourages creativity from all the people, instead of monopoly.
I feel encouraged by this unlimited plan, because I know the era of mobile creativity is coming.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The fact that the decoded iphone has become very popular in China. According to unofficial data, there are already 400,000 decoded iphone running on China Mobile's network. Of course, it is illegal, but people seems pretty much enjoy the service....(not sure if all the applications will work, but definitely surfing on the internet is the best attraction).
Speaking of this, Apple and China Mobile are still yet to start the official negotiation. I guess the point is that Apple is stick to the profit sharing model it was using in the collaboration with AT&T or some European Carriers. However, in China, the dynamics between carriers and service providers are not quite the same. And more importantly, China Mobile dominates over 60 percent of the market, which has much more market share compared with AT&T in U.S.
Besides sharing profit with carriers, Apple should focus more on selling the content to users via iphone, such as music or video. In some extent, it's more like printer business. firms make 90 percent of the money from cartridge instead of selling the printers along.
In addition, China is going to issue mobile licenses to fixed-line operators such as China Telecom and China Netcom soon this year. Apple's iphone is definitely a big attraction to customers, which will help carriers increase the user loyalty. Some investment bank in Hong Kong said Apple shouldn't partner with China Unicom, but I don't think it is 100 percent true. China Unicom definitely needs iphone more compared with China Mobile, which may lead to a better deal for Apple.
For emerging markets with more carrier monopoly, Apple should change its strategy to a more user-friendly one. Users are everything, and it's better to provide users service sooner than later. There is also chance to cooperate with small/new carriers in those countries, if Apple could assure the service quality of customer support is the same.
It's always not wise to wait for things to change. Better change something first, my two cents to Apple.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
First, they have to watch out the certain legal lawsuit from Apple. But I have to admit those manufacturers become more and more innovative and creative. In fact, they have enough ability to develop their own design, instead of copying others. That's why China should implement IP protection regulation strictly. The law itself will help push manufacturers to be more creative, instead of trying to steal sth from others.
Monday, February 11, 2008
That's the situation in the fragmented U.S. mobile market. Since there are many carriers, the interconnection cost is so high that customers have suffered a lot of benefit. In the terms of MicroEconomics(which Amy is studying on), the high price of interconnection(such as SMS between different carriers) have created a dead weight loss in the whole revenue map. Both carriers and mobile users leave money on the table.
Internet could help change all this. There was once a website which has the potential to challenge the whole situation. It is the skype. However, since Ebay itself doesn't have a lot of operating experience in telecom, Skype now becomes something stuck in the middle without any future innovative move.
For Facebook Mobile, I would suggest them learn from Tencent in China, which provide the service of Mobile QQ to customers. (5 yuan per month for unlimited messages between online and mobile chatting service, that's the price I remember). It is the only way to attract users to the SMS service, since we know customers always want to control on how much they gonna to pay.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Saturday, February 02, 2008
I remember one thing impressed me most of Stanford Graduate School of Business is its mission to "change lives, change organizations, and change the world". Students come to school with strong feeling about this mission, and they are willing to bear the mission in their mind for the whole life.
It's easier said to be done, people always say. I feel the same way, especially in the current moment that China is experiencing the worst-ever winter storm in the southern part. (pic from Red Net) It's horrible to see a lot of people suffer from the cold weather. The direct loss already reached 54 billion yuan today. It is so unusual for South China to have snow, since I know a lot of my friends from south China never saw snow before. Now the whole public transportation system, including railway and flight, has been affected, and millions of people may not be able to make it home to celebrate with family for the Spring Festival. The Chinese government spent a lot of effort in securing people and arranging transportation, but the situation has been difficult.
What could I do? It's hard to change the world this time because the weather is out of my reach. It's definitely not an easy call for a MBA student. It feels bad to think in that way, but it is the fact. However, I am now thinking of the reason for the terrible snow storm, and more importantly, what I could do to help in the daily life, such as how to stop a warm earth, or how to reduce the use of "dirty" energy. I believe the effect will be big if everyone on the earth could do a small thing. and I will start doing it now.
I will be involved in organizing a service learning trip of 20 people from Stanford GSB to West China, focusing on environmental protection and clean energy. Let me know if you have any contacts or advice. Thanks for supporting our first step.